The Purchase and Protection of Queen's Wood


Churchyard Bottom Wood; Highgate

Between 1860 and 1880 the centre was torn out of the City of London to build sewers, railways and new roads. Houses were demolished without regard for the tenants who had to find whatever accommodation they could. Managers went to live in Kensington and St. John's Wood, while the poorest crowded into the rookeries like Seven Dials and Lisson Grove. For those between, the clerks and skilled workmen, the speculative builder put up row after row of terraced villas and Mr Pooter moved into Holloway. The people of Muswell Hill watched houses creep across the fields of Finsbury Park, up Crouch Hill and down the other side, so that by 1880, Crouch End was being developed and there seemed no way to stem the flow. Ten years later the large estates of Muswell Hill were being sold. Upton Farm was sold and the Ecclesiastical Commissioners wanted to develop Churchyard Bottom Wood, now called Queen's Wood. The story would have made an Ibsen play. Two groups of honest, highly motivated people fighting for what they each thought was right. The Ecclesiastical Commissioners on the one hand and the Committee of the Hornsey Charities on the other, both believed they were doing their best for other people, and the public rose up against them both in indignation.

 

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The London Building World:1860-80, by John Summerson. This is a most important book.

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